Joey Barton, the Newcastle United and England boxer, is a reformed character and, according to his manager, Sir Kevin Keegan, has "turned to God".
Keegan was appealing to Magpies fans to give the troubled Scouse midfielder another chance on the club website and told them:
"Joey is a changed man. He's always in bed before four in the morning, and rarely drinks more than fifteen pints. If he does, he's got me to answer to!"
Barton was jailed for six months at Liverpool Crown Court recently for the rather unusual crime of Practising Dentistry Without A Licence, and will almost certainly miss Newcastle's pre-season friendlies. Some fans have called for him to be inducted into the Magpies' Toon Hall Of Fame for his legendary drinking prowess and gritty fighting spirit.
"I spoke to the lad as he was taken down. He's distraught. He was going to go for a Kentucky, but his mate changed his mind. Then this happens! That's football!"
But the former England manager added:
"He's learned his lesson. I know, because he's gone all weird and turned to God, like that Cliff Richard did."